Graffiti, Circ. 1995
On bodega shutters, nights begin to sign
themselves across; folding into marbled beads
graffitying into acrylic grafts on corroded skin.
Then it shatters into veils, revealing a rich
golden beach swimming above lapis waves –
strands of bone-violet crisscross setting-red.
A dripping-sentence across the top declares our
communal discovery of the fountain of youth:
“… Vivir Para Siempre” (… Live Forever)
Within the waters? Within the night? Within
our own arms? Within each other’s?
The single point left unanswered, left to sleep.
And there, we’ll dream in a single coconut
at the feet of an empty palm; left to hum
in the fur of its husk; left pregnant in promise.
Suicida in Blue
To a game
In a plastic jar, blue
neptunes glow in
silence of a child’s begging.
Pleas to a submissive father:
For me and my friends!”
A dozen children surge in
and out with small Neptune
leading the charge.
They line up against a barren
wall, peeling paint rupturing
further in kid’s content.
Then the ball is thrown,
hard against it – reflects
right back. A hand reaches out.
Just missing, the ball
rocks to the floor and
the boy runs to tag the wall.
A chain reaction: “Correr! Correr!”
Boys race to grab the ball
and fling it at the person running.
It misses, they run too:
the next possible victim
or a battle-tested rey.
And this continues until
all the tears are exhausted –
replaced with flashes of rage.
To Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Even the good is turned against us:
a seed planted in an empty lot
sprouts the malice left undiscussed
as metallic thorns spilled in gunshots.
And those intentions were good,
to speak out against the cost of food,
but where did this problem first start?
Whose hands first covered that dirt in oil?
Far up those glass towers, a sitting-smile
decides which community/people to boil.
And all is taken away: the time from sundials,
the fire of throats, the onions from armpits,
the orange quartz from skin, the white from eyes.
Until, all sanitized, the empty city breaches the sky.
To Dean Kostos
The inception of form springs at the moment
the eye touches the mirror; the dark singularity
of the I is given a face, your own face, transformed.
Under the grind and heat of saffron into blood;
Under the spread of wax-skin by sunrays,
in drum-ripples; Under the spikes of ebony arrowing,
carefully, into long curls; Under the sudden spurt
of wood into teeth, with nerves lacing underneath;
There, at that moment, we are ourselves – complete.
The poem, that inky aura, imprints itself thereafter.